The Los Angeles Dodgers have the league’s best one-two punch with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but they’re having trouble filling out the back end of their rotation.
After Mat Latos turned in another subpar performance, Alex Wood gets a third chance at his first win with the Dodgers on Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
Greinke leads the majors with a 1.59 ERA while Kershaw has the most strikeouts at 205. They’ve combined to win 22 games and are the primary reasons why Los Angeles’ rotation is third with a 3.23 ERA.
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The Dodgers (64-51), though, have used 14 other starters and their latest additions – Latos and Wood – have made little impact.
Latos and Wood came to Los Angeles in separate deals on July 30, and they’ve combined to go 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in five starts. Latos failed to complete at least five innings for a second straight start Thursday, giving up five runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 10-3 loss to Cincinnati (51-62) in the opener of this four-game set.
That also came after Greinke and Kershaw totaled 14 scoreless innings in back-to-back wins over Washington.
"This isn’t what we wanted and obviously not what he wants either," manager Don Mattingly said of Latos.
The same is true for Wood (7-7, 3.72 ERA), who is 0-1 while allowing seven runs and 13 hits with 13 strikeouts in 11 1-3 innings in two starts since being acquired from Atlanta.
He threw 3 2-3 hitless innings of relief in his only appearance against the Reds in 2013.
While this is his home debut for the Dodgers, the left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four career games – two starts – at Chavez Ravine.
Wood is trying to help Los Angeles, which has dropped five of its last seven games, expand its 2 1/2-game lead over second-place San Francisco in the NL West.
It’s unclear if he’ll have Yasmani Grandal behind the plate after he sat out Thursday with a sore left shoulder. However, he’s been mired in a 2-for-17 slump over his past five games.
"We’ll see," Mattingly told MLB’s official website. "If it’s something that lingers, at least we’re in a good spot for it."
The Reds are expected to recall John Lamb from Triple-A Louisville for his major league debut.
One of three left-handed prospects acquired from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto trade last month, Lamb is 10-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings over 20 starts in the minors this year. He’s compiled a 2.28 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 43 1-3 innings over his last eight outings.
Lamb, 25, will wear Cueto’s old No. 47 as he takes fellow rookie Michael Lorenzen’s spot in the rotation after he was optioned to Louisville on Thursday.
"I think it’s something that John earned, really, the way he was pitching with Kansas City when we got him," manager Bryan Price said. "It’s going to be unusual for him I’m sure … We’re excited to have him in the organization and to be able to provide him a well-earned opportunity for him to make his debut."
Billy Hamilton is 8 for 19 with seven runs in his last five games after going 2 for 22 over the previous seven. The center fielder had career highs with four hits and four runs Thursday, increasing his career average against Los Angeles 113 points to .321.
"When you’re struggling, it’s hard to keep that confidence going," Hamilton said.